Today is the day bloggers are talking about Katrina, and how you can donate to help. Michelle Malkin is doing a great job of using her visibility to get the word out. N.Z. Bear put together the list of participating blogs. The idea came from Hugh Hewitt and Glenn Reynolds.
I hope you'll read, and I hope you'll donate. I've done several things, and will continue to do so - some for the local shelter, some via UMCOR, United Methodist Committee on Relief.
But I hope you won't stop with today. I hope you'll continue to donate. And I hope you'll think for more than just a second about things you can do that go beyond writing a check. Because there are plenty of them. One day won't be enough -- and New Orleans won't be the only place that needs you and what you can give.
Don't think everybody's going to be ok quickly because the Astrodome opened up. For the people who heeded evacuation warnings, in many cases, there is nothing to return to. That is, if they could return at all. While the news reports focus on the horrors being endured by people trapped in rising water, surrounded by lawless thugs, out of reach of heroic rescuers, there are countless victims of this storm who are fed and dry right now - but who are victims, nonetheless.
Moody Memorial First United Methodist Church, here in Galveston, is the first-line Red Cross shelter here. It can hold 300. It opened yesterday, and was filling quickly -- and likely will fill to capacity today, requiring another shelter. The Red Cross, churches, and other private groups have opened shelters all around metro Houston. These are filling, too. Filling with people who did the right thing by evacuating -- yet now find themselves homeless, jobless, displaced -- with only the few items they could fit into their cars.
In my personal experience with Andrew, it was months - not weeks - before life could come close to normal. For many, it never did. But Andrew was a blip compared to this.
Yes, they were the ones who could afford to leave. But think for a minute. Could you leave your job, home, and all you own, and go stay in a hotel somewhere indefinitely? These survivors aren't in shelters for a few days. They're here for a long, trying haul. They need everything any other refugee needs. Money, clothes, food, baby stuff - everything. Including jobs.
Right now, New Orleans is the focus. As it should be. It's a rescue operation, still. Simultaneously, it'll be a matter of restoring order, so the water-removal process can have a chance to begin. Then it will be a cleanup process. Then - and only then - can damage really be assessed, and the rebuilding begin. This won't be over tomorrow. And all the while, the people in shelters all over the Gulf Coast will have to wait. They're going to need your help well beyond today.
There's plenty more you can do, beyond giving money. People in affected areas -- and those who evacuated -- need information. Two blogs I've found that are working as clearinghouses for New Orleans and Slidel information are:
Maybe you live in Duluth, or New York, or Seattle. That's ok. Go to these blogs, and figure out what you can do, and how to help. You'll find something. If you're in an area with a shelter -- go volunteer. If you own a restaurant, donate meals. Not just today -- but next week, and the week after that, and the week after that.
If you need temp workers, set up interviews at a shelter. Nobody wants to sit in a church basement all day. They're going to need money, and they'll want to earn it.
Whatever you do today, just -- don't stop with today.
tags: flood aid